Sun | May 26, 2019

Eye care mission could exceed surgery target

Published:Wednesday | April 24, 2019 | 12:15 AM
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (second right) listens attentively to a member of the Chinese Bright Journey Eye Care Mission technical team, Dr Xi Chen, as they observe a cataract surgery being conducted by members of the mission at the Kingston Public Hospital last week.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (second right) listens attentively to a member of the Chinese Bright Journey Eye Care Mission technical team, Dr Xi Chen, as they observe a cataract surgery being conducted by members of the mission at the Kingston Public Hospital last week.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the visiting Bright Journey Eye Care Mission is set to exceed its target of 500 cataract surgeries.

The 11-member Chinese technical team is performing free cataract surgeries at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) on Jamaicans in need.

The members, who began working at KPH on April 2 and will end on Friday, comprise five ophthalmologists, three nurses, two engineers and one technician.

Tufton said 440 persons have benefited from the mission to date.

“We would like to show our appreciation to the Chinese delegation that is here doing the surgeries. They came a few weeks ago with a commitment to do 500 surgeries, and I understand they have done some 440.

So we are well on target to achieving the 500 mark, and I am told we may exceed that, so it really demonstrates the importance of partnerships in public health. The mission has been successful, and we would like to see more of it,” he noted.

Tufton said he welcomes the collaboration with the Chinese government to support this area of healthcare.

“Eye care is a significant area in Jamaica. It is typically underserved. We are moving to sharpen the policy and improve the focus to ensure greater prevention and build-out capacity for curative measures,” he said.

The minister said the collaboration has had several other positive results in shared knowledge and information between local and international medical teams.

Retiree Jo-Anne Bromfield, who had her surgery on April 10, said the experience was a positive one. “It was good. Thanks be to the Lord. I can see properly now,” she shared.

Miguel Bradley, who received the surgery on his right eye, said he can already see positive results from the procedure.

“Things are brighter. I can see clearly. Before, I had foggy vision, now, I can see crystal clear,” he said.

In addition to the surgeries, the mission has donated medical equipment to KPH and offers training to the nurses and doctors.

This is Bright Journey’s second visit to Jamaica. In May 2015, more than 200 Jamaicans benefited from free cataract surgeries at the KPH, while the hospital was gifted medical equipment and supplies valued at US$400,000.